Beauty & the Beat

Hip & Heart-Opening Morning Yoga Sequence

BY: Beauty & the Beat Blog ON: January 13, 2017 IN: Workout Beat, Yoga

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There’s no better feeling than starting your day off with a yoga flow that’s rooted in gratitude and opening yourself up to positive energy.  That’s why I put together this hip and heart-opening morning yoga sequence. Did you know that heart-opening stretches literally create space around your heart? Make room for the awesomeness that God has in store for you with the following flow.

Slay your day with this hip and heart-opening morning yoga sequence!

I’m not a certified yoga teacher, (Yet! I’m currently enrolled in 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training!!) so please listen to your body and don’t force any of these postures. Also, don’t hesitate to consult a certified instructor or attend a class for more tips and advice. If you’re just getting started with yoga, these tips will help as well! 

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1. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Start on your hands and knees (also known as tabletop position) with your shoulders right above your wrists and your knees aligned with your hips; your fingers should be facing forward. Spread your fingers wide and evenly distribute the weight in your hands as you press through your palms and the bed of your knuckles.

On an exhale, tuck your toes and lift your knees off your mat, while gently straightening your legs. (Don’t lock your knees!) Your body should be in an upside down V shape. Lift through your pelvis while pushing the floor away from you. Lift your tailbone to the ceiling as you press down through your palms and the heels of your feet. Don’t sink into your shoulders; draw your shoulder blades back toward your tailbone. Draw your chest toward your thighs while continuing to press the mat away from you. Relax your head but maintain control as you gaze toward your bellybutton or between your legs. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

To release this pose, gently bend your knees and return to tabletop position.

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2. Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Lay face-down on the floor with your legs facing straight behind you and slightly spread apart with the tops of your feet resting on your mat. (Don’t tuck your toes… relax those babies!) With the palms facing down, place your hands the floor next to your lower ribs with your fingertips pointing forward. Hug your elbows in close to your ribcage and take a deep as you lift your torso and legs a couple of inches off the floor. Be sure to push through your palms and straighten your arms (Your elbow creases should face forward.) as you lift your body. Engage your legs and thighs to stay lifted and keep your elbows close to your ribcage and you slowly roll your shoulders back and lift your chest. Tilt your head back and gaze toward the ceiling or don’t tilt your head and keep your gaze straight ahead. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

To release the pose, exhale as you slowly lower your torso and forehead to the mat, and push up into Downward-facing Dog.

Hold for 5-10 breaths and return to Downward-Facing dog.

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3. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Beginning in Downward-Facing Dog and on an exhale step your left foot forward between your hands. Lower your right knee behind you and rest the top of your foot on the ground. Make sure you’re properly aligned with your left knee stacked directly above over your left ankle. You should feel this stretch in your right thigh and groin areas. Plant your hands on both sides of your hips or rest them on your left knee. You can also extend them overhead for a deeper stretch. Press your tailbone toward the ground while focusing on lengthening your back and relaxing your shoulders. Hold for 5-10 breaths, and repeat on your right side.

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4. Wide-Legged Standing Forward-Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Start by standing on your mat with your hands on your hips. Step your feet wide (as far as you can comfortably spread them) with your heels aligned. Take a deep inhale in as you lengthen your torso as if you’re trying to put your head through the ceiling. On an exhale bend forward at the hips, while focusing on keeping your torso long and your back straight. Keep your neck neutral as you drop your head to gaze behind you. Let your hands to rest on the floor. If you can’t reach the floor, rest your hands on yoga blocks or books. You can also rest your hands on your ankles, which is what I did in the photo above. Shift your weight into the balls of your feet and keep your hips aligned with your ankles. Draw your belly button up to your spine and focus on your breathing. Hold for 5-10 breaths.

To release, bring your hands to your hips and press through your feet as you inhale to lift your torso, while maintaining a flat back. Step your feet together and rest your hands at your sides.  

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5. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

Stand with your feet hips-width apart with your feet wider than hip-width apart and your heels aligned. Take your right foot and turn it so your toes are pointing toward the top of the mat. Bring your left foot inward with your toes pointing at a 45-degree angle. Straighten and extend your arms on both sided (like airplane wings) and life them to shoulder height with your palms facing down. Exhale and reach your right fingertips to the right while shifting your left hip back. Melt down into a fold at the right hip, keeping your back straight and right ear, shoulder, and knee inline. Make sure your left shoulder is stacked above your right shoulder. Lift your left fingertips toward the ceiling with your left palm facing the right. Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle or the floor. Gently turn your head to gaze up at your right thumb. Hold for 5-10 breaths, and repeat on the opposite side.

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6. Garland Pose (Mahayana)

Stand with your feet straddling the width of your mad with your hands resting at your hands by your sides. Bend your knees and drop down into a squat. Bring your butt down to hover about 2-4 inches above the ground with your feet comfortably planted, your weight should be shifted to your heels with your toes spread wide. Slightly tilt your torso forward and bring your palms together in prayer position in front of your chest. Lengthen your torso and focus on keeping a straight spine and relaxed shoulders. I like to open my hips a bit more by pressing my elbows into the sides of my knees. Hold for 5-10 deep breaths.

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Like my yoga gear? Find similar cropped legging and sports bra options here, here , here and here

If you loved this morning yoga sequence, wind down with these 6 relaxing yoga poses to help you sleep better

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Ciao Bellas, 

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